One of the fundamental desires of the human race is to create or find a space to call their ‘home,’ where bits and pieces of yourself can be found. But there are many hurdles one must cross over to even get to mapping out the perfect design. Making the best use of a given budget or attempting to maintain sustainable furnishing are some of the problems one boggles their brain over before even taking the first step, and that’s where Udaan steps in.
Udaan is an architectural design studio that aims to create spaces of sustainability and creativity. Their style reflects a sense of rustic artistry that evokes a feeling of familiarity, the kind that turns a house into a home. They work on the basis of recycling as much of their client’s furniture and renovating the existing space, in order to minimise waste and give each home a deeper history. And they do this is all within a budget that the client provides them with. We spoke to the founder, Nivedita Shinde, on her journey with spatial design and Udaan. Having graduated university with a degree in architecture 9 years ago, she tells us how she’s always considered herself a ‘maker’, “Since graduation, I’ve travelled through rural India, built homes with the villagers, learning from them and with them, adapting traditional technologies to modern lifestyles.” With plenty of experience in architectural restoration and furniture making, Nivedita tells us how the idea behind Udaan came about, “In my experience design begins in the subconscious mind and grows when you put your hands to work on site or at a workshop. I founded Udaan studio in 2014 as a place where the handmade met modern machinery. We follow no trends and fit no moulds.”
She explains that in recent years, the need for individuality tends to get lost in a stream of mass produced lifestyles, “We have chosen to slow down and take pleasure in crafting every piece - taking simple materials, recycling old objects and weaving functional art. This is what we call Handmade Spaces.”
What initially began exclusively as a product design company has now expanded their services to ‘Handmade Spaces’, in August 2016. These are the studio’s trademark functions, where everything from the design to the furniture is made from scratch. But at the heart of this process is surprisingly the client’s budget, “Our aim is to give our clients the best value for the money they invest. You can build a beautiful home with 5 crores. You can also build a beautiful home with 5 lakhs. Good design is about making smart decisions. Since we make everything, we can control the budget better,” she tells us. But their USP doesn’t just stop here. Udaan emphasises on the use eco-friendly and domestically produced materials, in the furniture making process, “As a principal, we favour natural materials and indigenous products. My combined experience of building in rural India and the more commercial building industry of Mumbai, has allowed me to look beyond store bought goods like tiles/laminates/veneers. Materials like cement and emulsion paints that are used widely in the cities are harmful to the environment.”
There’s a certain kind of dedication the work naturally showcases, where there is a constant search and preference for healthy alternatives like adobe, lime, natural dyes. And this commitment extends to encouraging all their clients to reuse and recycle their old materials and products to embrace a certain aesthetic that is a mix India’s unique contemporary culture. Since then, the studio has built four homes, where each project is expected to typically take around 2-4 months, “Our process is very hands-on. Designs are sketched by hand, mock-ups prepared in the studio and details streamlined on the computer. We work best when the client trusts our judgement and gives us a free hand.” Additionally, we also learnt that a small percentage of every sale proceedings they make is being channelised to underprivileged children through an Udaan Children’s Fund.
Udaan Studios has been operating for three years with a very unique stance in architecture, interior architecture and product design. We asked Nivedita what her plans were for the future and it was very evident that she hopes to continue building homes from the ground up and promote innovative sustainable living solutions for larger client audiences.
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